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‘Women will hasten green change’
By Shamila Jamaluddin January 18, 2013
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ABU DHABI: Energy and climate leaders stressed the importance of breaking down gender barriers to increase women’s participation in the emerging sectors of renewable energy and sustainability.

Leaders said increased participation by women can support efforts to accelerate the deployment of renewable energy and help mitigate climate change.

At a panel discussion panel titled ‘Women and Future Energy - Breaking down the Barriers,’ held on Thursday during the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week - industry leaders addressed young students in the UAE and proposed concrete action to address the global gender imbalance in the renewable energy and sustainability industries.

The panel discussion was organised by the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs Directorate of Energy and Climate Change, Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company, and the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology.

Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, Masdar CEO, said, “Our founding father, Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, laid the foundation for empowering women  in the UAE, ensuring that they are equipped with the necessary tools to actively participate in the development of the nation. Today, our wise and visionary leadership continues to build on this legacy through various initiatives. The Masdar Institute, for example, boasts 35 per cent female students, while Masdar is proud to contribute to this vision by ensuring women’s participation in various projects and forums of engagement.”

“Climate change is one of the defining issues of our time and both men and women must be involved in finding a solution,” said Dr Lamya N. Fawwaz, executive director, Public Affairs, Masdar Institute of Science and Technology.

“By increasing the participation of women in the fields of renewable energy and sustainability, we can begin to develop solutions that are gender inclusive and address the needs of both men and women.  Society will immensely benefit if more women are empowered to actively participate in science and engineering sectors, and contribute to the fight against climate change.

The panel made a series of recommendations on how to integrate young women in the renewable energy and sustainability sectors. Recommendations included creating scholarships for women to pursue degrees in emerging industries; creating global mentorship programmes; creating economic incentives for women entrepreneurs to invest in new sectors, such as renewable energy and sustainability; and to increase the number of women participating in climate change think-tanks and negotiations.

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